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Imaging Cantopop with Alan Chan and Tina Liu

Artist: Alan Chan, Tina Liu
Type: Talk
Language: Cantonese
Audience: Everyone
Location: The Forum

Imaging Cantopop with Alan Chan and Tina Liu

At the peak of its development in the 1980s, Cantopop was a transcultural phenomenon influenced by the fields of music, fashion, and design. In this talk, Alan Chan and Tina Liu will recount the cultural zeitgeist and design processes and strategies behind the Cantopop albums they designed.

Reflecting on M+’s research Imaging Cantopop: Design and Performativity and the exhibition Hong Kong: Here and Beyond, this talk explores how album design and packaging contributed to the cultural influence of Cantopop between the mid-1970s to mid-1990s. Chan and Liu—whose interdisciplinary interests and training stretched across advertising, graphic and editorial design, photography, illustration, and styling—held key roles in shaping the graphic aura of then emerging artists, including Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, and Deanie Ip. The albums they designed, some of which were awarded Best Record Design by RTHK Top 10 Gold Songs Awards, enriched the visual and tangible experience in capturing the persona of the artists and their music. These album designs also contributed to the enduring character of Hong Kong’s music and entertainment industry, both locally and internationally.

This talk, as part of M+ at Night: Cantopop will be held in Cantonese and moderated by M+ Curatorial Assistant of Design and Architecture Christine Lee. Click on ‘Register’ to sign up for this event.

About the Speakers

Tina Liu graduated from Simon Fraser University in Canada. She returned to Hong Kong in 1978 and became part of a network of creatives whose cosmopolitan training was keen in cultural production. Liu’s career has stretched across the entertainment and image industries since the late 1970s. She was a singer, actress, and writer, and has worked extensively in film and for concerts. She joined City Magazine in 1981 as Executive Director. In the mid-1980s, she established Black and White Records, an independent record label with which she designed album covers You Left Me Here (1984), I Want (1985), and A Thousand Suns (1986) for Deanie Ip. Liu was also Image Director of Esprit de Corp (Asia), Image Director for TVB and Asia TV, and Channel Director of Metro Broadcast FM 104. In 1994, she founded Hong Kong’s first professional image consultancy firm.

Photographic upper body portrait of a woman with cropped hair. The woman has black thick-rimmed spectacles and smiles animatedly at the camera, facing the viewer at an angle. She wears a black long-sleeved shirt with an asymmetric neckline and a collar that opens at the shoulder on the viewer's right.

Portrait of Tina Liu. Photo: Courtesy of the speaker

Alan Chan is a graphic designer, art director, and brand consultant. He founded Alan Chan Design Company in 1980. His cross-media works, which stretch across advertising, branding, graphic, art, editorial and interior design, have shaped the graphic identity of important entities in Hong Kong, including the music and entertainment industry besides retail and F&B. Chan’s contributions have also reached international audiences. He was the first Chinese designer invited for a solo exhibition by Ginza Graphic Gallery in Tokyo in 2002. He is known for his pioneering album cover designs such as for Leslie Cheung’s Stand Up (1985), Hot Summer (1988), and Final Encounter (1989), and Anita Mui’s Leap the Stage (1984) and Bad Girl (1985).

Portrait of Alan Chan. Photo: Courtesy of the speaker

M+ Magazine

Image at top: Tina Liu. Vinyl album cover for Deanie Ip, You Left Me Here, 1984. M+, Hong Kong. © Wing Hang Record Trading Co., Ltd; Alan Chan. Vinyl album cover for Leslie Cheung, Stand Up, 1985. M+, Hong Kong. Gift of Alan Chan, 2020. © Capital Artists Ltd.